video games warning


I liked President Obama's speech yesterday--how could I not--and it was mighty fine to have an adult in the room, so to speak, especially after witnessing Sarah Palin's self-serving rant after the Giffords shootings. If we're going to have a spokesperson for corporate rule and imperialism in the White House, at least we can have one who isn't as embarrassing to listen to. But that brings up the broader problem, of course--that we have only elected a new spokesperson for the ruling billionaires. I have a subversive thought to offer--wouldn't you like to be able to elect a coordinator for democratic rule, instead? That's small-d democratic rule, the dangerous kind. The kind that doesn't have billionaires. Like many I have looked at the deranged countenance in the mugshot of the shooter, and wondered how such a monster is created. Clearly the man has struggled with lonely madness. But there is more, that we all added in. Maybe the recipe for a mass murderer--other than the leaders we adore, of course, I mean an amateur mass murderer--is equal parts television and radio tea party screamers, gun fetish culture, and gory first-person shooter video games. I wonder if there could be a required warning on first-person shooter games. It would not be a mere label, though--it would be a cybernetic component to a cybernetic device. It could be an unavoidable entry level, in which you train to shoot your weapon, and then you're presented with a target that seems to come at you and then turns out to be the wrong target. It could be set up so that you couldn't proceed further in the game without shooting this target, which would turn out to be the wrong person, someone on your team. There would follow cries of pain, gore everywhere, blood pumping out, cries of "why?" and various recriminations at the shooter as your POV is shoved aside for a rescue attempt. At some point a little kid would come up and hurl herself on the prone, bleeding, convulsing figure, shouting "Papi! Papi! Don't die!" But the figure would die. Then the game would go into movie-mode and show the trial of your first-person shooter character, and you'd get to choose humble self-denouncement, as your lawyer will recommend, or defiance. The judge looks sternly at you and sentences you either to death or to life in prison. Then the scene fades, and you get to play the game per normal. Every few minutes the face of the judge appears scrolling across the bottom of the scene, with a reminder that this is just a game and that in real life you don't murder people and get away with it. What do you think--would that reduce gun violence?


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